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One state fights to make shared child custody mandatory priority

A representative of one state is fighting to make it mandatory for family court judges to make it a priority for parents to share their kids after a divorce. While many couples make the decision of who will get child custody before they ever reach the courtroom, the family court judge is left to make that choice when the parents cannot agree. A new bill was introduced recently that will provide new rules on how those decisions are made. Though the bill was not presented in Florida, it could have an affect on family courts all over the country.

According to the wording of the bill, a family judge will be required to start every case with the assumption that it is in the best interest of the child to spend equal time with each parent. This is meant to protect the child's right to have a meaningful relationship with both the mother and father. The representative who drafted the bill feels that there are too many cases in which child custody is decided according to where the parent lives and what the judge decides, instead of what is best for the child.

There are provisions in the bill to cover cases where there is evidence of domestic violence or other circumstances that would affect the child's well-being. In such cases, the judge would need to see clear and convincing proof that the child would benefit more from being away from one of the parents. The bill raises a new level of evidence that will be needed to prove that a parent is unfit.

Some are worried that this bill will place more of the burden of proof of abuse in the hands of the victims. As with any proposed law, there are two sides to the story. For those in Florida who are concerned about child custody, a family lawyer can help to guide him or her as to any new legislature that could affect their case.

Source: michiganradio.com, "Bill would make shared custody mandatory priority for family court judges", April Van Buren, June 2, 2017

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